Tuesday, January 03, 2006
On this day:

You might be a redneck if...

You live in Citronelle, Alabama? That's what at least one city councilman in that Lower Alabama city thinks.
"There is a stigma," [City Councilman Jeremy] Reynolds said. "The stigma in our community is that we're a redneck community. We're a town full of honky-tonks. Roughnecks, if you will."

With support of his fellow City Council members, Reynolds is attempting to lead a mini-revolution to change outsiders' perceptions of Citronelle. He said he believes that the city has already reinvented itself as a bedroom community for Mobile, it just needs a few more people to buy some of those bedrooms.

The envisioned revolution includes initiatives that could prove unpopular, such as the recent passage of what appears to be the strictest smoking ban in the state, and maybe the region. It also includes subtle attempts to change attitudes, such as convincing people that they should be proud of where they live -- proud enough to keep their yards up and boast about the good points of Citronelle.

"We're trying to change a culture," Reynolds said. "We need to sell the virtues to the community. You don't gain a reputation overnight. You're not going to shed it overnight." ...

Reynolds said he tries to drive through the city looking at things as an outsider. He intends to address blemishes systematically, one-by-one, he said, hopefully with the continued support of the council.

Next on his list: Signs. He said the lingering poster boards around town for garage sales long-past may require a new ordinance or stricter enforcement. Outsiders driving through, he said, must think the homemade signs are tacky.

"It's the little things," he said. "Enough little changes will turn into something big."

I've never been to Citronelle, so I can't comment on the concentration of "rednecks" there. From the looks of things, though, it seems that the town has more than its fair share of busybodies.